September 18, 2018 / 1:31 PM / 3 months ago

Putin says chance circumstances were behind downing of Russian plane

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Russia September 17, 2018. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the shooting down of a Russian military plane near Syria was the result of a chain of tragic and chance circumstances.

The Russian Ministry of Defence said earlier on Tuesday that the aircraft was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft systems, but accused Israel of indirectly causing the incident, saying Israeli jets operating nearby had put the Russian plane in the path of danger

Putin’s comments appeared to somewhat soften Russia’s criticism of Israel, though he said Russia still needed to look into what happened.

Speaking beside Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban following talks in Moscow, Putin said Russia’s response to the incident would aim at securing the safety of Russian service people in Syria.

Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya, Polina Devitt and Maxim Rodionov; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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